Review: King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) – Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Imprint (January 29, 2019)

Print Length: 528 pages

Audiobook Length: 16 hrs and 13 mins

Narrator: Lauren Fortgang

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

The Review

Once again Bardugo takes the cake when it comes to engaging readers with a fast-paced dive back into the beloved YA fantasy world of Grisha.

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) is told via four POVs: Zoya, Nikolai, Nina, and Isaak. It was rather nice, as someone who has read all of Bardugo’s previous Grisha Verse novels, to reacquaint myself with characters of stories past. Of course, much like she was in the Six of Crows duology Nina continues to be one of my favourite characters. It was rather interesting of Bardugo to explore grief and post traumatic stress with Nina, as well as with Nikolai and Zoya, in a way that didn’t wrap it all up nicely by the novel’s conclusion. I also enjoyed the introduction of Isaak. As the only ‘new character’, Isaak could have faltered in comparison to the others, and yet, his story was both compelling and tragic, basically Bardugo’s recipe for memorable characters.

The only reason that King of Scars didn’t get a 5 star rating from me was the ending. While I couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor for a good, long while, I felt as if the events and repercussions sort of came out of left field. I also am in agreement with several other Goodreads reviewers who believe that the villain featured in Nikolai and Zoya’s passages was not necessary, given Bardugo’s talents in creating truly devious baddies.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And those are my thoughts on King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo. Have any YA fantasy recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.

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